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Solar panels and wind turbines for Palestra

London SE1 website team

Will Alsop's Palestra building in Blackfriars Road is to be fitted with solar panels and wind turbines thanks to a DTI grant announced on Wednesday.

As one of the tenants of the new building, the London Climate Change Agency requires that renewable energy is generated on or within the building. It is proposed to fit 14 micro wind turbines alongside highly efficient mono-crystalline photovoltaic arrays mounted on the roof.

The Cut could soon have wind turbines at both ends of the street; last week the Waterloo Community Development Group heard a presentation from Mark Willingale of Willingale Associates who introduced plans for a 30 storey tower – dubbed Waterloo Trilogy Tower – on the corner of Waterloo Road and Baylis Road featuring 18 integrated 5.5m wind turbines.

The London Climate Change Agency comes under the auspices of the London Development Agency, which is due to relocate to Palestra from St Katharine Dock in August.

Ken Livingstone was grilled about the LDA's decision to take space at Palestra at Mayor's Question Time last week.

London Assembly member Tony Arbour (Conservative) alleged that the Mayor had "tried to encourge" the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority to take up a lease at Palestra; though LFEPA finally settled on the former parcels sorting office in Union Street to replace its current Albert Embankment HQ.

Arbour complained that the Mayor keeps his property deals "a most incredible secret", adding that "...there are people in London – and there are certainly people on these benches – who think that your relationship with the property world is most unhealthy and is entirely wrong for someone who is responsible for planning matters in London."

In reply the Mayor insisted that he had "played no role" in the LDA's decision to move to Palestra, and that he had merely "accepted the logic" of what "seemed like a good deal".

Energy minister Malcolm Wicks announced details of the funding in a speech to the All Energy conference in Aberdeen on Wednesday. Commenting on the scheme he said: "The DTI's Major Photovoltaic Demonstration Programme has successfully awarded over £30 million to almost 1900 solar energy schemes since 2002. This includes 1100 individual homes and, something I am particularly pleased to see, 175 schools. This has led to considerable savings in both CO2 emissions and fuel bills."

Last year Wicks announced funding for a photovoltaic roof at City Hall which is due to be installed during 2006.

The minister added: "Grants will also continue to be provided under the new £80 million Low Carbon Buildings programme. The scheme is administered for the DTI by the Energy Saving Trust and I urge anyone interested in installing micro technologies to contact their helpline for more information."

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